Thursday, November 14, 2013

The documenter I used to be . . .

A friend at the office was pulling up a presentation on the big screen and went to his desktop, which contained an awesome collage of baby photos.  And, he said . . . this was when I used to take pictures of my kids.  3 kids later . . . the camera is hard to get to.

Ugh.  I get it.

And, let's not kid ourselves . . . my last post on this little blog of mine was in August.  No documentation, I tell you.  And, I certainly can't rely on my memory alone.  That is a risky deal.

Anywho . . . I wanted to save all of the little things that I used to write down about little Gavin and Autumn in one place.  It kind of looks pitifully small.  But . . . I'm grateful to have these.  And, it's motivation to capture even more of these moments:
  • Gavin's favorite sayings are Hold me, More dat and Thanks. (4/6/09)
  • Gavin is starting to talk more and more. He surprises me daily with the new words he says and how he combines a few words at a time. He still signs, but even says "Autumn" now. 3/22/09
  • Autumn's little attitude has taken on a new intensity. Terrible twos pale in comparison to the freaky fours. It's a good thing she can be so cute. And, she adores coloring and drawing. Maybe she's going to be a passionate artist. 3/20/09

  • Our sweet little Gavin is OBSESSED with the PBS show 'Word World.' I highly recommend it. But, the moment he wakes up or comes in the house, he starts signing Dog and screaming "Wuh Wuhhd."
  • Gavin is making amazing progress speaking. Jeff asked today if he wanted to go downstairs and watch football. Gavin responded, "Touchdown!" That's our boy! :)
  • Despite understanding everything, Gavin still shows no desire to want to speak, other than signing. So, we encourage all sounds . . . which has turned into an almost nightly dinner-time ritual of screaming as loud as possible.
  • Gavin actually made a real "moo" sound instead of just puckering his lips (9/6/08), followed by "bye bye" on the phone to Mommy this week (10/1/08).
  • Gavin . . . who refuses to talk . . . has resorted to screaming . . . all the time. We try to force him to talk or sign to let us know what he wants. So, now he signs "please" for everything. (8/19/08)
  • We are definitely proponents of Signing Time (especially since Gavin's way of saying "no" is to bang his head and scream until we figure out what he wants) . . . Gavin can sign "more" and "all done" (as well as "shoes" and "baby"). Now we just have to get the signs in the proper context.
  • Gavin is quite the dancer and loves to shake his little bum when he hears music. It's really the cutest thing ever (2/12/08)
  • Gavin is back to eating all sorts of baby food. The problem is he is not interested in eating any "real" food other than puffs and bread - and if he doesn't like the texture - he throws up on demand.    
  • What does the duck say, Gavin? "Kack, kack" (1/26/08)
  • Autumn is turning 3 on Saturday - and I am heart-broken. I wish I could be more like Jeff and just relish the moments instead of agonize over them. These were the themes she had in mind for her party . . . first, Winnie the Pooh then Rudolph the Reindeer, a short phase of Princess party, then Mickey Mouse Playhouse . . . and at the party store she immediately chose Finding Nemo and has been completely satisfied ever since.
  • Gavin has become a master army crawler. I'm so proud. Nothing is going to hold this kid back.
  • Gavin is starting to refuse all baby food except for Cheerios and Gerber puffs. We keep offering him a variety of foods and finger foods as well and are hoping this is a phase! (1/16/08)
  •  Autumn is now not only insisting upon saying the dinner prayer every time but the nightly family prayer as well. She says them in the sweetest voice without any assistance - sometimes blessing random people and things around the room, but almost always blessing the food (even if there is none to bless).
  • Gavin started waving bye bye (it's a delayed response - but, a definite wave . . . sometimes just his thumb) 1/11/08
  • Gavin is quite the dancer and loves to shake his little bum when he hears music. It's really the cutest thing ever (2/12/08)


Wednesday, August 28, 2013


I found this acronym today on a parenting site that I refer to now and then ( 

I've been thinking about this a lot recently . . . but, even after four children . . . I have never felt like I am in any position to exude advice or wisdom on parenting.  I constantly feel as if I am a student of the school of parenting . . . always in the receiving/learning/experiencing phase . . . and not in the role of teacher or leader.  It's not that I feel like I am doing a terrible job . . . but, I would never say that I have it down (would any parent?? if so - I'd love to talk to them).

But, I do seriously admire the many women that share their lives through blogs and articles that have an air of confident calm.  Oh how I would love if people used those words to describe me!

T - Take a minute (breathe and observe).
E - Engage and empathize.
A - Acknowledge the feelings and needs.
C - Connect and problem solve.
H - How does it feel? How do I feel? How do you feel?

I will never forget a NY taxi driver that told me that the major influence a parent has on their child is in the first five years.  *gulp*  He was kind of a brilliant taxi driver, by the way . . . the stories that drivers must hear and the wisdom they must gain.  That's a separate story.  But, I don't miss opportunities to learn from taxi drivers (unlike my hard and fast rule that I never talk to people on planes. Ever.).

In a second, my two babies have grown from this:

to these big kids:

with a couple more added in who aren't that small anymore either:

If only these kids understood how hard we try to be the best we can for them.  But, I don't think you can ever understand that phenomenon until you have kids of your own.  And, then you can't UN-know what you know . . . your kids are your everything, punishments really might hurt the parents more than the kids, life really isn't fair, you can't and SHOULDN'T have everything you want, and yes . . . you have to share, be kind, and learn to handle authority well . . . and you are actually in control of your own happiness.
We don't exactly know what we are doing.  But, we are hopefully getting an A for effort . . . which, sadly, in the world of parenting, may not mean much.
We are learning, too, little ones.  And, we love you.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Gotta Start Somewhere

I have big aspirations all the time.  I want to write.  I want to journal.  I want to document my family's story.  I want to express my worries, fears, hopes, concerns and dreams.

I want to create a Blurb book with pictures.  I want to go through all of the years of kindergarten and preschool artwork and frame pieces and create proper collections.  I want to get ONE picture up on a wall in my house (yes - still naked walls staring at me everywhere).

But, I also have a tendency to become overwhelmed when I have too many options.  I recently read something that said that it takes willpower to make decisions, to be tactful and professional, and to bite your tongue - and that willpower runs out.  And, it confirmed (and kind of justified) my suspicion that I am using up all of my focus, determination and decision-making skills at work . . . and there's just not much left when I get home. 

A few examples . . .

I have been promising myself that I would be writing a blog post every day.  And, I'll admit . . .
it's not just that I don't know where to start because I have so much to say.  I also end up losing myself in other people's worlds . . . dreaming of New York City life with my littles, being a stay-at-home mom in Arizona, or having the confidence to share advice on things from cooking to crafting on Clover Lane.  I'm a voyeur and not a contributor to this lovely little internet world.
I needed to replace a much-used and much-beloved strawberry slicer.  After doing some research and narrowing the list down - I asked Jeff for his opinion.  He laughed and said that it would have made more sense to quickly buy 2 or 3 rather than spend an hour agonizing over the options for a $5 product.  Hmmmm . . . true.
In the very rare few moments when I have quiet in my house (imagine two babies asleep at the same time and two big kids playing happily for a moment) . . . what do I do!?  I could sleep, I could clean, I could read, I could exercise . . . oh my.  So, I usually waste my time in indecision.  Annoying.  It actually reminds me about a short story that I was assigned to write in college.  I procrastinated as usual - and then suffered from total writer's block.  I wrote a story about a girl that couldn't come up with a story to write.  True story. 

So, what am I going to do?  How do I find a way to channel some deep inner store of untapped will power and apply some consistency in my life?  Perhaps even a regular routine or schedule? 

I guess I just gotta start somewhere.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Garrett's First Twelve Months

To see all twelve months of Garrett's first year . . . it's beautiful, amazing and heart-breaking all at the same time.  My little baby grew up way too fast.  I know I'm a broken record and I know we all say the same thing.  But, my insides feel like they are going to cave in when I think that I am moving past my newborn baby years.  I adore them.  I want to smell them and rub my cheek on their soft skin.

And, what a lucky mom I am to have my four angels.  And, I will cherish every minute.

But, I will ache to have a newborn again.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Oh so sad to go . . . oh so much fun when you get there

It's been two years since I traveled out of the country for work.  Last time I was in London was when Gage was 6 months old.  I had convinced Jeff to come with me somehow . . . and we even arranged for Jeff's parents to watch the two older kids.  After diligent preparations and 'thinking of everything', I realized the night before the trip that we did not have a passport for our littlest man.  The parents that had just returned from living in a foreign country for years - and knew very well about the passport restrictions . . . completely forgot.  It was devastating.  I spent the night canceling flights, rearranging flights and crying.

Fast forward two years, and I couldn't convince that very same husband to come with me and bring our 10 month old.  Jeff said something like, 'absolutely under no circumstances would I travel 13 hours with a baby on a plane'  and 'are you crazy!?'  So, I traveled without my family.

And, there was more sadness and crying and regret as I drove away - and my whole family waved from the front window.  Lots more tears.

Luckily, I traveled with good friends from the company - all of whom were leaving their littles at home as well.  And, we commiserated.  And, we talked about them.  We shared pictures and stories and family traditions and talked about how - although we were missing our families terribly - we all felt loneliness especially for our spouses, left at home alone with our kids.

And, we endured the 13+ hours of traveling.  And, we worked hard on presentations and slides and leading discussions and analyzing numbers for days.

And, then we partied like rock stars at night!

I absolutely despise the leaving.  But, once I'm there . . . I do take full advantage.